If you’re getting a new puppy, make sure you’re ready and prepared. Puppies are adorable and fun, but it’s not all snuggles and puppy kisses. Make sure you’ve considered these 7 things before you make the important decision about bringing a puppy home.
Who doesn’t love a puppy? They’re tiny, squishy, and amazingly cute. You can pick them up, hold them in your lap, snuggle them for hours, and they will love you back unconditionally. And hello – puppy kisses?? But before you run off to adopt a new puppy, make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Bringing Home A Puppy – What You Need to Know
1: Getting a Puppy Is Expensive
You’ll likely spend more money than you think or plan for when you bring a new puppy home. If you can barely feed yourself or your family, just remember this is one more member of the family that needs food, supplies, and doctor visits.
- Fees – either adoption fees or the cost of buying from a reputable breeder. Adoption is almost always cheaper and sometimes includes the first round of vaccinations and spaying or neutering. But there is still an upfront fee from most reputable adoption places.
- Vet Visits – You’ll need to find a veterinarian for your new baby. They require a series of vaccinations and well checks over their lifetime just like us.
- Supplies – You’ll need a few initial supplies to get your new puppy started off right. You don’t need to buy out the pet store, but plan on a bed, crate, food, a leash and collar, tags, a few toys, and dog bowls.
2: Puppies Can Be Messy
If you can’t stand messes, or the thought of poop or pee makes you vomit, and you will shrivel into a ball if a puppy drools on your floor, getting a new puppy might not be the best option for you.
And depending on the breed of puppy you have, there could be lots of new hair floating around your house. Have you ever visited someone with a Golden Retriever? Yep – lots of hair.
As adorable as they are, it can’t change the fact that new puppies can make quite a big mess. They’re brand new to the world and are still getting the hang of life. They’ll need to be potty trained and before that happens, there are bound to be a few accidents in your house.
Give you and your puppy some grace in this learning period. You’ll both need time to learn how to navigate this new world and there will be messes along the way.
3: Be Prepared To Get Up At Night
If you’re a parent, you remember how it feels to have to get up several times a night to feed and change diapers. It’s 100% necessary and worth it, but it can be tiring. If you’re in the most demanding time of your life and sleep is a precious commodity at the moment, just know that getting a puppy is going to infringe on your sleep.
There are many factors involved including the size of your puppy, age, and food habits, but most puppies will need to use the bathroom at least one time a night and sometimes more for the first 8 to 12 weeks. And when they have to go, you usually don’t have long to get them there.
Be prepared and make a plan. If you have a partner in the house, set up a plan to divide and conquer. And know that it would be extremely rare to bring home a new puppy and get a full, uninterrupted night of sleep for the first few months.
4: New Puppies Need socialization
When you bring home a new puppy, you are bringing him or her into a whole new giant world. New sounds, new smells, they are away from their mother, and they have so much to learn.
If you intend to truly make your puppy a part of your family and you want to take your puppy with you when you go to dog-friendly places, then plan on socializing your new baby.
Be sure to check with your vet about when the time is right for your new puppy to be around other dogs first though. You’ll want to make sure they are protected.
Socialization Tips for New Puppies
- Walks – Not only will your puppy get exercise, but walks are a fantastic way to socialize your new puppy. You’ll come in contact with people, other dogs, new sounds, smells, and places.
- Dog Parks – Make sure you get the go-ahead from your vet first before venturing out to a dog park with a brand new puppy. But once it’s safe to go, dog parks can be an amazing way to introduce your puppy to other dogs. Scope out the park beforehand and choose a time that’s not too chaotic at first. This will depend largely on the age of your puppy as to whether they’re ready for a dog park.
- Dog-Friendly Restaurants or Businesses – get your puppy used to being around people at places that accept your four-legged family member. Be a responsible pet owner and please make sure to clean up after any messes though! If you aren’t sure if dogs are welcome, ask first.
- Doggy Daycare – If you happen to live in an area that offers doggy daycare, it can be an amazing resource for socializing your new puppy. There will be rules and temperament tests, but once you get signed up, it can be a lifesaver. Not only do they get socialized, but he or she will get plenty of exercise.
- Exploring – Your house is a brand new world for your puppy. They’ll want to explore and you can help by getting them used to all the new sounds and smells.
- Car Rides – Get your pup adjusted to riding by taking them along in the car. This will also help for future vet visits.
Be sure and pay attention to your puppy and don’t overwhelm them. If they are getting passed around from person to person and there are new sounds and smells, it may be too much at first. Let’s face it – puppies are adorable and people want to pet them and hold them. Just know when it’s too much for them.
5: Get ready to exercise with your new puppy
And speaking of exercise, your new baby is going to require some exercise. You won’t need to run 5 miles with an 8-week old puppy but plan on some daily activity to help them physically as well as mentally.
Talk to your vet for recommendations on how much exercise your new puppy needs. You don’t want to overdo it. Plan on 2-3 short walks each day at first and 5 minutes of training each day. You will increase as your puppy grows, depending on the breed and energy level.
Benefits of Exercise For your puppy
- Heart Health
- Joint and Bone Health
- Burning Energy
- Aids in digestion
- Increases Muscle Tone
And not only is exercise necessary and beneficial for a new puppy, but it’s beneficial to you too! Even short 5-10 minute walks are a good start to improving a sedentary lifestyle.
And it doesn’t just have to be walking. You can play fetch, tug, or other activities that actively engage your puppy mentally and physically. But puppies need exercise daily – bored and sedentary puppies tend to go looking for trouble around your house!
6: Develop a Routine
When your puppy is brand new and just learning to navigate the world around him or her, it can be helpful to establish a routine. This can be anything from the way you put them in their crate, when and how you feed them, and how you exercise them. If you start when they’re young, you’ll save yourself years of frustration in the future.
You’ll want to start a routine of feeding. Do you want to leave food down all the time or have specific meal times? It can vary from dog to dog.
For example, when we adopted our dog, Charlie, he was aggressive and not the most patient eater. Our trainer suggested hand feeding him to get him used to not associating food with aggression. That was some of the best advice we ever received.
It worked like a charm. A very painful charm at first because we had pretty beat up hands from hand feeding, but it taught him to not view food with aggression. He learned that in order to get the food from our hands, he had to be calm.
A crate can be a safety net for a new puppy. If you plan to use a crate for when you’re away from the house or at night, make sure it’s never used as punishment. You want your new puppy to associate the crate with safety and comfort, not a means of punishing.
We used a crate from the very beginning with our rescue dog Charlie. It became his haven. After a while, we didn’t even have to close the door. He voluntarily slept in his crate into his senior years, even with the choice of sleeping on a dog bed outside the crate.
The crate was a necessary part of forming a routine for him as a new puppy. He knew when we went to bed, he went to bed and he got a treat for going in his crate. Of course, everyone has different thoughts on using treats or other rewards, so you’ll have to decide what’s best for you and your puppy.
7: Getting a Puppy Means Years Of Commitment
This is not a decision to be taken lightly. If you aren’t prepared for a decade or more of loving this puppy into their golden years, then it’s not the right time for you to get a puppy.
The average lifespan of a dog is 10-13 years
They become your family. Where you move, they move. When you introduce a new baby, a new house, or even a new job that comes with a new routine – it affects them too. If you can’t see yourself committing to 10-13 years of loving and caring for a dog, it might not be a good fit at this stage of your life.
If you are so overscheduled that you barely have time to take care of yourself, it may not be the best time for you to get a dog. New puppies require a lot of attention and you want to give them the best life possible.
Consider your schedule and realistically think about adding in extra time for a puppy. Please be a responsible pet owner and don’t get overwhelmed at the cuteness of a puppy if you can’t care for them properly.
You can’t just get a new puppy and throw it out in the backyard. It’s work. Rewarding work, but it will still take time every day.
Also, if this is a family decision, make sure everyone is on board. If you have tiny kids, think about how you’ll introduce them to the puppy. You’ll need to set boundaries for the kids and the puppy.
And most importantly – remember that one day that cute adorable puppy will be old and gray after many long years of a happy life with you. They will need you just as much during their golden years.
So there you have it. Of course, there is no perfect time in our lives for anything. If you sit around waiting for the perfect opportunity before you make any moves in life, you’ll be sitting quite a while. But it helps to be prepared and know what you’re getting into, particularly when it comes to getting a new puppy. It’s years of unconditional love between you and your puppy and so much joy.
Just make sure you’re prepared to give them the best life possible.